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TEC vs H20...cooling debate

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  • Heatsinks
  • Cooling
  • Fan
  • Overclocking
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July 13, 2009 2:45:27 AM

Which is better for the CPU: Thermal-Electric cooling or Water cooling?

For a case, I have the Cooler Master HAF 932, and I'm confused by the features of the chassis... Am I allowed to keep the 230mm fan on top of the case and install a "radiator" as well? (What exactly is a radiator, and is it water-cooled?) Would this radiator fit in the HAF 932 without me having to remove the fan on top?

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

My specs are: an Intel C2D E7400 (using stock fan), intel mobo, GTS 250, 650W PSU, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD...
Do I really need more cooling? What about if I overclock the CPU from 2.8Ghz to say 3.4Ghz (is this possible)? Would I then need more cooling?

I've also looked at:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...


More about : tec h20 cooling debate

July 13, 2009 3:21:09 AM

Tec cooling can be great, but it is different than everything else. If you want to do extreme overclocking it can be the way to go. The problem with tec cooling is you will have higher idle temp, and fairly high load temps, but they will keep the cpu in the safe range even when doing overvolting and extreme clocks. You HAVE to have a good case with good cooling to keep your ambient case temp down to use a tec cooler, though. They have a controller that always keeps them ABOVE the ambient temp to a safe margin to prevent condensation. For this reason, the Tec doesn't kick in until fairly high temps are reached.
Water cooling can be good, but does have thermal limits, and can be a pain to deal with all the plumbing unless you go for an all in one self contained unit. Those have smaller radiators, and have been know to be fairly unreliable, leaky, and prone to pump failures. The radiator works just like the radiator on your car, the water runs through it and is cooled by fans blowing cool air on the hot water. Water cooling is a hobby all unto itself, and can get really expensive if you want to do it "right".
You seem to be looking at a fairly small overclock, and a good HSF would probably work for you. The overclock you achieve is part luck, and part MB, ram, and cpu. You can do a 10% OC on stock cooling, but I wouldn't go above that...basically don't do anything that needs voltage increases. If you want to go above that compare the better aftermarket air cooling options, and if you decide you want to get more extreme look into tec and water cooling.
July 13, 2009 6:52:21 PM

Quote:
They have a controller that always keeps them ABOVE the ambient temp to a safe margin to prevent condensation.

Would condensation occur if my case temp was too cold?

Quote:
Water cooling can be good, but does have thermal limits, and can be a pain to deal with all the plumbing unless you go for an all in one self contained unit.

What exactly would the plumbing entail? I'm still not sure what a water-cooling unit looks like. I thought I just filled it up with water and that's it.

Quote:
You can do a 10% OC on stock cooling, but I wouldn't go above that...basically don't do anything that needs voltage increases.

But say I do want to increase my voltage, would I need to get a new PSU?
Related resources
a c 337 K Overclocking
July 13, 2009 7:08:00 PM

You don't always need to increase your voltage for a CPU OC, but you might. It all depends on what it requires for the CPU to be stable at that clock speed.
July 13, 2009 7:09:48 PM

Only with tec cooling do you have to worry about cooling the cpu too much, but that concern is addressed by the controllers they all come with. Nothing else is capable of cooling below ambient (unless you want to talk about nitrogen, but lets just forget that). Basically your case temp can never be too cold. Condensation only occurs when the cpu is running cooler than ambient, so doing everything possible to keep your case cool is always best. I even designed rigs that use AC to pump cool air into the case. Its not quite as simple as it sounds, so don't try it without reading up on it first...you have to be very aware of moisture issues if you do this.
If you buy an all in one liquid cooling unit like you were looking at in the link you provided there is no plumbing involved, but they have very small radiators, are prone to leaks, and have a relatively small amount of liquid....which means they really don't do much better than a good air cooling solution.
Don't increase the votage when using the STOCK cooler. You can still get a slight overclock using stock cooling. You will not need to increase you psu if you increase the voltage. Your 650w is way more than you need for your rig right now, so you have lots of room to play with.
a b K Overclocking
July 13, 2009 7:14:01 PM

Read: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16...

Either way, for a TEC system you need a Watercooling system to cool the hot side of the TEC.

Anyways, OP you don't need a TEC. Stoik with air cooling or water cooling. TECs are meant to be used for hard core OCing. My guess is since you are running an "Intel" branded motherboard, your OCing options in the BIOS will be very limited. (ie not many options for changing, such as VTT Ref,etc. )
July 13, 2009 7:23:58 PM

belial2k said:
Only with tec cooling do you have to worry about cooling the cpu too much, but that concern is addressed by the controllers they all come with. Nothing else is capable of cooling below ambient (unless you want to talk about nitrogen, but lets just forget that). Basically your case temp can never be too cold. Condensation only occurs when the cpu is running cooler than ambient, so doing everything possible to keep your case cool is always best. I even designed rigs that use AC to pump cool air into the case. Its not quite as simple as it sounds, so don't try it without reading up on it first...you have to be very aware of moisture issues if you do this.
If you buy an all in one liquid cooling unit like you were looking at in the link you provided there is no plumbing involved, but they have very small radiators, are prone to leaks, and have a relatively small amount of liquid....which means they really don't do much better than a good air cooling solution.
Don't increase the votage when using the STOCK cooler. You can still get a slight overclock using stock cooling. You will not need to increase you psu if you increase the voltage. Your 650w is way more than you need for your rig right now, so you have lots of room to play with.


  • What exactly is ambient?
    Quote:
    (unless you want to talk about nitrogen, but lets just forget that)

  • Is nitrogen cooling on the market?
    July 13, 2009 7:35:47 PM

    I don't recommend water cooling for most consumer tec setups. If I was to design one for OC records I would do it, but for what he is looking for the HSF on the tec he is looking at will be more than enough. And if the case stays cool he'll see good temps.

    Ambient is the temp of the air surrounding the cpu.

    YOU DO NOT WANT TO USE NITROGEN COOLING IN A CONSUMER RIG. Dont even consider it.
    a b K Overclocking
    July 13, 2009 11:39:08 PM

    ^+1. LN2/DI is a absolute no. LN2 is meant for breaking OCing records.

    Again, OP get a good heat sink & fan. I recommend TRUE 120, S1283 w/ bolt in kit, CoreContact,etc.
    a b K Overclocking
    July 13, 2009 11:43:10 PM

    Yea stay away from nitro unless you are attempting to break a record.

    I agree with Shadow703793, the True 120 is as good as they get.......
    July 13, 2009 11:49:29 PM

    Also, since you have an intel board you need to make sure you CAN overclock it in the bios before you go to far and start buying parts. Go into your bios and see if you have access to the fsb settings. If not, you won't be overclocking in the bios, and you will only be able to get a small overclock using software in windows.
    a c 86 K Overclocking
    July 14, 2009 3:36:02 AM

    TECs unless a prebuilt rig like a Coolit is a complex, very expensive, and not for a noob. You have to watercool the hot side of the TEC as a start. Better learn about mobo insulation and be prepared to lose a mob and chip till you get it right.

    And the Coolit rigs are cheap and a poor choice, overpriced, no better than a quality Air heatsink and fan. the 12vdc plugs have a tendancy to melt. People mod them at extra expense for giggles, but usually add to the landfill.

    Going Ln2 is very cool. Expect to spend $50 on 2 hours of Ln2 usage. $120 for the pot on the CPU. Don't forget the Dewar jug at at least a few $100 to hold the Ln2.

    And you'll smoke more than just one Mobo learning Ln2.

    Watercooling, quality watercooling is about $250 to $300 for a solid CPU loop. Add $150 if you want to toss in a GPU.

    Done. You got a lot to learn.
    July 14, 2009 1:50:14 PM

    I run two CoolIt 12 Tec Boreas chillers, one in each system. They are very easy to install even for a beginner. Please know what your talking about, " No better then air coolers " I have a 965 extreme with idle temps in the low teens and underload temps in the middle 20c range, show me an air cooler that can do that lol 2 yrs and none of the wiring has ever melted, where do you get your information from ?
    a b K Overclocking
    July 14, 2009 3:02:43 PM

    I agree with Stan, I think he was talking about the Domino as far as "no better than air coolers". Of course you can't compare a Domino to a Boreas.. Thats like comparing a Celeron to an i7....
    a c 86 K Overclocking
    July 14, 2009 3:13:53 PM

    The Boreas Coolers is the ONLY one made by Coolit that even begins to be worthy. Your talking over $500 for just CPU cooling, so it's crazy expensive for what you get. But it does give great temps!

    So yea your right, I should not put this in the same catagory as any other Coolit system. BTW, how is the jet engine in your case when your at max load?
    July 14, 2009 6:17:01 PM

    @ Stan...if you were referring to my comments, I was addressing the OP and referring to the links he provided about his choices. The all in one water rig he linked to is similar to a Domino, and won't do much better than air. The Ultra Tec rig is fairly inexpensive for TEC, but needs to be used only with above average case cooling to really be effective.
    a b K Overclocking
    July 14, 2009 7:40:15 PM

    NEVER get a TT water cooling kit. They have huge quality issues.
    a c 337 K Overclocking
    July 14, 2009 7:46:46 PM

    ^^LOL yes... If everything in your WC kit comes in a nice, shiny box and most of it fits in your 5 1/4 bays...run away. Very fast.
    a b K Overclocking
    July 14, 2009 9:19:06 PM

    Wow, didnt know they were that bad... I used a Thermaltake BW 735 and it worked fine for about a year, then I sold it to a buddy and he has had 0 issues so far....guess I was one of the lucky ones....
    a c 86 K Overclocking
    July 15, 2009 6:06:22 AM

    Very much so or his rig was rather lame.
    !